Five Post-Holiday Strategies for Merchants

It's safe to say, the 2012 holiday season has proved to be profitable so far, as consumers spent $33.8 billion online as of Dec. 16, which is a 13 percent increase compared to the same time last year according to comScore. Moreover, the last week had four individual days that exceeded $1 billion in spending. 

But all good things must come to an end, and although merchants should stay focused on the last stretch of the holiday rush, it is also time to start preparing post-holiday strategies.

This is because the period directly after the holidays can be a great time to sell excess merchandise, entice people to redeem their gift cards, attract consumers to shop who are at home and haven't yet gone back to work, as well as start preparations for the 2013 holiday season. Discover five ways to make the most out of the post-holiday period below:

Entice Consumers with Email

Many retailers launch end-of-year sales on Dec. 26, and while email is a great way to spread the word about these sales, merchants should also leverage this channel to target specific customer segments. 

For example, merchants can start sending bounce back coupons to consumers that made purchases during the holiday season. These coupons will entice customers who have made previous purchases to come back and make additional purchases after the holidays. Furthermore, merchants can send coupons to customers who made wishlists on the merchant's website earlier in the year. Sending an email with a message that states - "We hope you received everything on your wishlist, but just in case Santa forgot something, use this coupon for 20 percent off your next order." - will surely bring in some customers who didn't receive everything they wanted this holiday season.

Switch Up Advertising Campaigns

Don't be one of the merchants who forgets to turn off his or her holiday campaigns. Instead, it is best to prepare ahead and have end-of-year sale campaigns ready to take the place of holiday campaigns.

The best way to do this is to create strong promotional campaigns around sale and clearance items that merchants want to push off their shelves. By doing this, merchants are publicizing in-stock merchandise so customers won't be disappointed with ads that contain out-of-stock products. Additionally, this strategy also entices deal-seekers to come browse products both online and in-stores.

Stay Engaged with Social

Many consumers are still at home recovering from the holidays during the last week of December and the first week of January, which means that this is prime time to engage with these consumers via social networks.

Not only should merchants use their most popular social profiles to promote end-of-year sales, but they should also engage consumers with interactions, content and contests. One of the most important things merchants can do is respond to customer questions and comments via social media during this time period. This is because these interactions at best can lead to sale opportunities and at worst lead to a stronger relationship with the customer - which makes this a win-win strategy. However, merchants should also consider using social media to launch flash promotions after the holidays, such as "the first five check-ins of the day receive a free gift," as well as contests and giveaways that will keep customers active with the brand.

Attract Traffic with Daily Deals

Although the daily deal industry isn't as popular as it once was, merchants can attract traffic both online and in-stores by launching a post-holiday deal. Running a daily deal can not only help retailers acquire new customers and increase conversions, but merchants can also build deals around excess inventory, which will help them clear the shelves for new products in the spring.

Clean Up and Organize Data

After the holiday dust settles, it is time to evaluate all of your campaigns and get organized for next year. 

In fact, merchants should analyze the performance of merchandise, advertisements and promotional campaigns for every channel, including the traditional Web, social, mobile and email. Once this data is sorted through, merchants will be able to build on the best performing campaigns and throw away lackluster strategies for the 2013 holiday season. By completing this step right after the holidays are finished, data will still be fresh on a merchant's mind, which will lead to better organization and preparation for next year.